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Malibu Boats offers preview of new models

 Malibu Wakesetter 22 VLX.

Malibu Wakesetter 22 VLX.

Malibu Boats is leading the ski boat performance segment as the No. 1 or No. 2 brand in 80 percent of the markets, according to the company.

President and CEO Jack Springer attributes the market share gains the brand has experienced in the last five years to two factors: cutting-edge innovation and a continuous platform for new product launches.

“The sheer amount of product we’ve brought to market has catapulted us,”Springer told Trade Only Today. “What we’ve done this year is, we’re bringing out more new boats and more new products. There are several factors that go into it. We believe that we analyze the market better than anyone else.”

Malibu and its spinoff brand Axis are in the process of introducing two new boats as well as other innovations this summer, like a new dash, Power Wedge and tower. The company plans to introduce two more models during the boat show season later this year.

When we sat down with Springer last week, Trade Only got a sneak peak at the products that won’t make their world debut until next month.

The Malibu Wakesetter 22 VLX, completely redesigned for 2015, has grown from 21 to 22 feet and the company says it churns out the largest wake in this boating segment. “On the Malibu side, we’ve made lot of progress and we are not letting up. The 22 VLX is a brand new boat from the ground up, and features our new touchscreen technology,”Springer says.

Malibu is bringing a 12-inch touchscreen display to market — the Viper 2. The screen is built with more processing power, higher levels of integration, a new operating system, and wireless connectivity. (The sport dash option includes an expandable phone cradle, dry-storage box with USB charger, and the new Wakesetter Wheel, a manual control for the Surf Gate, Power Wedge, cruise control, and stereo.)

The 22 VLX also includes upgrades like a three-profile Livorsi throttle, transom seating, a drop-in Igloo cooler and options like the new G4 tower (see below), fender locks, WakeView seating the new WakesetterWheel, and manual controls for Surf Gate, Power Wedge, cruise control and stereo.

The new, hydraulic Power Wedge 2 features a larger foil with a 21 percent surface-area increase. “You can get on plane in half the time,” Springer says.

The Axis Wake Research A22 is also redesigned from scratch, he said — with a new wake-maximizing hull, tower, interior, and walk-through bow. A 102-inch beam leaves seating for 15 people. The Axis brand, introduced in 2009, maximizes affordability while giving consumers the performance options, Springer says.

“One of this things we did with Axis [when we introduced it] is build it from the ground up,”Springer said. “We didn’t de-content a Malibu. I don’t believe that works. We think we deliver a high-value boat at an affordable price.”

Springer said the new Power Wedge and 2015 Malibu Dash are part of the company’s “evolutionary plan”with Surf Gate, the patent-pending innovation that has had a 100 percent adoption rate on Malibu Boats and nearly 100 percent adoption rate on Axis.

“That continues to evolve. We completely redesigned the Power Wedge, which we originally brought out in 2006. It has 300 pounds of additional ballast, for a total of 1,500 pounds of water displacement,”Springer said.

All of those new innovations combined with Surf Gate give wake boarders and wake surfers highly-specified control of the wake that’s easily customized to each rider without requiring people to pile from one side of the boat to the other, Springer says.

Finally, the new G4 towers are built with aerospace aluminum and an internal honeycomb structure to make the structure three times more rigid than its premium predecessor. It comes with integrated forward LED lights and has the option for huge, swivel-mounted high-fidelity WetSounds speakers.

Read more about the coming products in Trade Only Today, and more of the interview with Jack Springer in September’s Soundings Trade Only Q&A.

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